Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Republican leaders fight to give voters a voice, against their own leadership

State Sen. Chris Lauzen is in a fight, unbelievably, to give Republican Voters the right to directly pick their own leaders on the GOP "Board of Directors," the State Central Committee.

I say unbelievably because the biggest foes of changing the existing law which allows Republican committeemen in the 19 Illinois Congressional Districts to select their State Central Committeemen and Women, rather than give that vote to Republican votes, are some of the Republican Party's own leaders, like State GOP Chief Andrew McKenna.

Lauzen has introduced Senate Bill 600 to change the practice and let Republican voters directly vote on selecting the State Central Committeeman and State Central Committeewoman in each of the state’s 19 Congressional Districts. The two posts are equal and have given women equal voice in state politics. Democrats already directly vote for their counterparts. It’s only the Republican voters who are denied that right.

Former Gov. Jim Thompson, who didn't blink at donating his legal services to help his corrupt pal former Gov. George Ryan, took away the right of Republican voters to select their leaders in 1988 in a move to consolidate his own power. If you had to trace the total collapse of the Republican Party to any single move or person, it would be to that date and to that former governor.

Now, State Sen. Chris Lauzen and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno are planning to push for the adoption of a bill that would restore the right of Republican voters, taken away by Thompson in 1988, to directly elect the State Central Committeemen and State Central Committee Women (co-equals in a system that has empowered woman leadership in Illinois) and McKenna has threatened to file a lawsuit if the bill is passed.

The Republican Party Chief, McKenna, wants to prevent Republican voters from deciding who should represent the party? No wonder the Illinois Republican party is an absolute mess. McKenna has been arguing that the state voters should get the right to elect the U.S. Senator, demanding that the seat held by controversy-plagued U.S. Senator Roland Burris should be decided in a special election -- give the voters a voice, he says.

But when it comes to giving Republicans a voice in who should be leading the Republican Party, the voters of him, he doesn't want the Republican party members to vote.


Listen to Lauzen's podcast interview from Radio Chicagoland last Monday on WJJG 1530 AM Radio by clicking here. Get more information at Lauzen's web site at

-- Ray Hanania

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